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Township cuts hours, seeks new leadership

Township cuts hours, seeks new leadership

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By Scott Sullivan

Editor

The Saugatuck Township Board May Day moved to deal with the Easter weekend resignations of manager/zoning administrator Natalie Dean and supervisor Chris Roerig, plus the retirement of Sherry Mason, assessor more than 13 years.

To deal with the current staff shortage, members voted to close township hall to the public Wednesdays. The 3461 Blue Star Highway office remains open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Other townships don’t have open office hours five days a week,” trustee Stacey Aldrich noted. “We will still have staff working here on Wednesdays.

“But being short staffed during such a busy time, including getting our 2019-20 budget ready, I think it makes sense to focus one day a week on internal demands,” she said. Reduced hours will be in effect eight week.

Fellow trustee Brenda Marcy and clerk Abby Bigford joined Aldrich voting yes. Treasurer Jon Helmrich, away at the April 28 through May 3 Michigan Municipal Treasurers Institute in Mt. Pleasant, heard and spoke at the meeting by phone, but as such could not vote on the matter. Roerig was not present.

The board, with 45 days from Roerig’s May 3 official last day to appoint a new supervisor, has posted the opening as appears elsewhere in this week’s Commercial Record.

In addition to seeking a resident who has time to attend and lead monthly board meetings, occasional special meetings, deliberate and vote on municipal business, the board would welcome a person with knowledge of, or willingness to learn about, Kalamazoo Lake Sewer and Water Authority operations.

Roerig replaced ousted ex- township manager Aaron Sheridan this winter as township representative at monthly Kal Lake board meetings, but Roerig has left that post too.

The board hopes to appoint a new supervisor at its next regular monthly meeting Wednesday, June 5.Applications are available at saugatucktownship.org, by phoning clerk Abby Bigford at (269) 857-7721 or by emailing abigford@saugatucktownship.org.

To replace Dean as manager, ideally doubling as she did as zoning administrator, the board discussed contracting with consultant Frank Walsh, who most recently assisted Douglas with its hiring of new city manager Richard LaBombard (see story elsewhere in this week’s Commercial Record).

For in-office zoning help, which Bigford called the township’s most-immediate need, the board looked at proposals from Michigan Township Services, Williams & Works of Grand Rapids and Align Planning, but made no decision last week.

The township has 90 days from Mason’s retirement date last week to replace her. “Sherry has agreed to help us until we make that hire,” Bigford said.